Eric Garner Judicial Inquiry: Judge Denies Request To Compel Testimony From Former NYPD Deputy Commissioner

historic judicial inquiry into Eric Garner’s killing
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New York, NY--Thursday, after Judge Erika M. Edwards denied petitioners’ motion to reconsider witnesses last week, lawyers for the petitioners in the historic judicial inquiry into Eric Garner’s killing and related misconduct, once again asked the court to compel NYPD former Deputy Commissioner Kevin Richardson who was the former head of the NYPD discipline unit, to testify during the proceedings.

Judge Edwards also denied petitioners’ request to make a summary statement at the end of the proceedings.

Below is a statement from Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, in response to Judge Erika M. Edwards’ denial of petitioner requests to reconsider witnesses and allow for a summary statement in the inquiry.

“The way Judge Edwards denied our request for a closing statement and our request to question Kevin Richardson felt really callous. The judge hasn’t allowed us to question any witnesses with any disciplinary authority so it’s unbelievable to me that she won’t even allow us to question Richardson, who was the head of NYPD discipline when my son was murdered in 2014 and when Pantaleo was finally fired in 2019,” said Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner. “This judicial inquiry is supposed to be about getting to the truth of the violations and neglect of duty by top city officials when it comes to the murder of my son and related misconduct – and it’s been clear every day that there was so much misconduct and cover-up. It’s disappointing to me that the judge – who said herself that she has many questions and would want to hear more witnesses – has now ruled against us on both of our requests for real transparency – it felt like a disservice to not only me and my family, but to all New Yorkers.”

About the Garner judicial inquiry

On August 27, 2019, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Ellisha Flagg-Garner, sister of Eric Garner; Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham; Loyda Colon of Justice Committee; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; Monifa Bandele of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Mark Winston Griffith of Brooklyn Movement Center; and Kesi Foster of Make the Road New York, filed a historic petition regarding violations and neglect of duty by the Mayor of New York City, the NYPD Police Commissioner, and other New York City officials related to the killing of Eric Garner. The petition was brought under Section 1109 of the New York City Charter, a “sunlight” provision.

After the City moved to dismiss the lawsuit, Justice Joan A. Madden issued a decision on September 24, 2020, allowing a judicial inquiry, which began this week, to move forward with respect to alleged violations and neglect of duty in connection with: (1) the stop, arrest, and use of force against Mr. Garner; (2) the filing of false official documents concerning Mr. Garner's arrest; (3) the leaking of Mr. Garner's alleged arrest history and medical condition in the autopsy report; and (4) the alleged lack of medical care provided to Mr. Garner by police officers. The judicial inquiry will also examine violations and neglect of duties related to the discipline, or lack thereof, for the officers, in relation to the categories above.

The judicial inquiry began October 25 and is expected to last for approximately two weeks. Judge Erika M. Edwards is presiding. The schedule, which is subject to change, for the remaining proceedings is as follows:

  • Friday, November 5th, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
  • There may be additional dates during the week of November 8th

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory and abusive policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

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